NHL Morning Skate for Friday, May 28, 2021


* The Hurricanes scored three unanswered goals – bookended by markers from Sebastian Aho – to rally from a 3-1 deficit in Game 6 and earn a series-clinching overtime win over the Predators.

* The Canadiens capped a wild game at Scotiabank Arena with a goal just 59 seconds into overtime to cut their First Round deficit to 3-2. The series shifts back to Bell Centre for Game 6, where 2,500 fans will be in attendance as Montreal looks to avoid elimination again.

* The Golden Knights and Wild will contest the first Game 7 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight at T-Mobile Arena.

Sebastian Aho scored the series-clinching goal just 66 seconds into overtime as Carolina rallied from a 3-1 deficit in Game 6 to eliminate Nashville and advance to the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Hurricanes have earned at least one series win in each of the last three postseasons, which trails only the Bruins (4; 2018–2021) for the longest active run in the NHL.

* Aho, who also kickstarted Carolina’s comeback with a goal at 13:34 of the second period, became the fifth player in Hurricanes/Whalers franchise history to score a series clincher in overtime. He joined Martin Gelinas (Game 6 of 2002 CF), Cory Stillman (Game 6 of 2006 CQF), Scott Walker (Game 7 of 2009 CSF) and Brock McGinn (Game 7 of 2019 R1).

* Aho scored two goals in a series-clinching win for the second time in his NHL career (also Game 3 of 2020 SCQ). His six career goals in potential series-clinching games are the most in franchise history (6-2—8 in 4 GP), while his eight points under that criteria are tied for second place among Hurricanes/Whalers players.

* Carolina will face Tampa Bay in the Second Round, marking the first-ever series between the Hurricanes/Whalers franchise and Lightning. Carolina has faced the defending Stanley Cup champions in the postseason on three prior occasions – the Whalers fell to the Canadiens in the 1980 Preliminary Round, while the Hurricanes lost to the Devils in the 2001 Conference Quarterfinals but defeated the Capitals in the 2019 First Round.

Joel Armia scored twice in the opening 8:18 and Jesperi Kotkaniemi put Montreal up 3-0 less than five minutes into the second period, but Toronto tallied three consecutive goals to send Game 5 to overtime. Nick Suzuki then converted on a 2-on-0 with Cole Caufield just 59 seconds into extra time as the Canadiens quelled the Maple Leafs to stave off elimination and cut the deficit to 3-2 in their First Round series.

* Suzuki became the eighth player in club history to score a goal in the opening minute of a playoff overtime and first since Tom Kostopoulos in Game 1 of the 2008 Conference Semifinals (0:48). The franchise record is nine seconds, a mark set by Brian Skrudland in Game 2 of the 1986 Stanley Cup Final.

* Thursday’s winner marked the third instance over the last 20 years in which multiple players age 21 or younger factored on an overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Suzuki and Caufield joined Josef Vasicek and Jaroslav Svoboda in Game 5 of the 2002 Conference Quarterfinals (w/ CAR) as well as Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog in Game 5 of the 2014 First Round (w/ COL).


* After the Canadiens and Maple Leafs contested a playoff game that required overtime for the first time since 1979, seven of the eight First Round series in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs have featured at least one overtime game. In total, 15 of 42 games (35.7%) this postseason have gone past regulation, totaling 21 periods of overtime. The 21 total overtime periods are the most ever in a single playoff round, surpassing the 20 contested in the 2017 First Round.

* The Hurricanes and Predators required overtime in each of the last four games in their First Round series. Only two other series in Stanley Cup Playoffs history have seen the teams require overtime in four or more consecutive games, with each of the previous two going five straight contests (1951 SCF: TOR vs. MTL & 2012 CQF: PHX vs. CHI).

The Golden Knights and Wild will face off in the first Game 7 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Honda West Division rivals meet at T-Mobile Arena, marking the first time a seventh-and-deciding game will be played in Las Vegas. The winner of tonight’s showdown will advance to the Second Round to face the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Avalanche, with Game 1 slated for Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

* The Golden Knights will be appearing in a Game 7 for the third consecutive year and hold a 1-1 mark in their previous two seventh-and-deciding games. Vegas dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Sharks, then led by current head coach Peter DeBoer, in the 2019 First Round and blanked the Canucks 3-0 in Game 7 of the 2020 Second Round.

* Three members of the Golden Knights are undefeated after multiple career Game 7 appearances: DeBoer (5-0), Alex Pietrangelo (4-0) and Alec Martinez (4-0). DeBoer is the only head coach in NHL history to win each of the first five Game 7s of his career – he surpassed Tommy Ivan (4-0)with his victory in 2020.

* The Wild are a perfect 3-0 all-time in Game 7s, with all three victories coming on the road. No franchise has ever won each of the first four Game 7s they contested. Minnesota has twice rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win in seven games – both of which occurred in the opening two rounds of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Mats Zuccarello has three points in Game 7s (2-1—3 in 4 GP), the most among current Wild players. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s trio of Marcus Johansson (8 GP; 3-5), Nick Bonino (6 GP; 3-3) and Ian Cole (5 GP; 3-2) are the only skaters on either team to appear in five or more career Game 7 contests.


Posted in NHL